The Project Hate MCMXCIX // Bleeding the New Apocalypse (Cum Victriciis in Manibus Armis)
Rating: 3.5/5.0 —Gonna take a while to digest this one entirely…
Label: Season of Mist
Websites: |
Release Dates: EU: 14.02.2011 | US: 02.15.2011

The Project Hate MCMXCIX: Bleeding The New ApocalypseA few months back I posted something which amounted to me shilling for money for The Project Hate‘s new record. What you, as a reader here, probably didn’t know is that at the time I’d never even heard The Project Hate. I was not a fan at all, actually, I just thought the idea was cool and I believe in supporting underground bands doing cool shit and I think that what Lord K Philipson was doing was, in fact, cool as hell. Things, of course, ended up getting worked out and I now have a copy of The Project Hate‘s new disc in my possession and it has possibly the longest title ever: Bleeding the New Apocalypse (Cum Victriciis in Manibus Armis). I will not write that again.

So, turns out The Project Hate is actually pretty cool music, too. The concept behind this is something I support whole-heartedly. It’s like a blending of gothic metal with female vocals, death metal, a dash of groove oriented nu-metal (this is no insult, when used in small doses it can get very good) and techno beats. These combined elements are the pillars on which one hour and five minutes worth of self-produced, Dan Swano-mastered metal stand, and they make for some pretty compelling moments.

The new piece to the band that cannot go without mention is the new vocalist Ruby Roque who is, I can say with all certainty, one of the best female vocalists I’ve heard on a metal CD. One of my constant complaints about female vocals in metal is that they tend to either take the timid Liv Kristine types, who can sing but have no power, or they’re all trying to be Tarja, more opera than power, per se. But what I always want to know is whatever happened to the Alannah Myles school of female singing? You know, the chicks who come out and blow you away with their range and power, the ones who should be the perfect fit for extreme metal which is a music that is all about power! Well, the answer is that at least one of them exists and that is The Project Hate‘s new female vocalist. While she is a little too stylistically R&B for my tastes at times, she offers up a seriously powerful performance that cannot be ignored and denied. This woman has, for lack of a better term, some pipes.

The Project HateThat said, musically the melodies she’s singing are less inspiring. Probably my biggest complaint about this record is that the melodies are really wandering and they don’t tend to have that succinct sensibility that I look for in clean vocals. I was turned off really quickly by the vocal melodies in “Iesus Kristus, Servus Mei,” because they didn’t sound like melodies to me at all, but like the vocal equivalent of a moth fluttering along towards a light. Headed in a direction, but kind of all over the place. Not really my thing.

Fortunately, for the most part this gets better as the record goes on. The hooks in “They Shall All Be Witnesses” and “Summoning Majestic War” are razor sharp and work well with what I see as the stronger part of this record, the death metal. Lord K Philipson, and really the rest of the band, are from Torture Division, also from Vomitory, Grave, etc., etc., and these motherfuckers can play. The riffs are super solid, catchy and thick, also very melodic and sometimes doomy. The death metal vocals are aggressive and the lyrics are full of hate, rage and blasphemy. Just like, I’m sure, you’ve come to expect of these guys.

While the tracks here get a bit long, I actually think the pacing is done really well. Because of the use of techno/industrial sounds and keyboards, there are a lot of sections the flow and link together the different movements. None of the songs are shorter than 8 minutes (8:51 to be exact) and yet I didn’t find myself really getting bored with these songs. The writing is varied and melodic enough to keep the listener interested, but I probably would’ve cut one track for the sake of flow, because this shit is dense and complex at times and maintaining interest for 65 minutes may be difficult for a lot of listeners to do.

Still, when all is said and done, this is a very good record and a promising new start for a band that’s just put out their 9th full length. Fans will be pleased, though I know that there are some conflicting emotions about Ruby as the new singer, I think she’ll win the day with her pure talent. And while this isn’t the best thing I’ve heard this year, I do think that there is a lot of cool shit going on and I’m looking forward to hearing how this sound continues to develop in the coming years.

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  • Pretty much how I graded it to though I’m familiar with the back catalog as well. I’d be interested to see what you think of the previous albums with the other singers on whether you think they are more Liv Kristine or something else.Fantastic group though even if Ruby is a polarizing figure whether Lord K wants it to be or not.

  • K

    Great review, as expected from you. Too low a score though. I’d give it a 5/5. Some stuff I hardly can’t agree with, but you explain why you think like you do – which makes it all work for me.

    Rob Liz: You are right – we are fantastic. But what the fuck do you mean with that last sentence of yours?

    • I mean just what I said. Ruby is a polarizing figure in that people are either going to love her performance or hate it. I know you’re filled with pride to arrogant levels with this project but as many times as you say she’s perfect and completely awesome there are people that are not going to agree with you. Sorry.

  • Nice review. After hearing just 1 song i already like them. Thanks for sharing!

  • pedroty

    A work of art with blood stained hands…Thats for sure….

  • K

    Rob: Me? Arrogant? Naaaw… Thanx for the compliment. No need to say you are sorry, just acknowledge you are wrong and it’s all fine, haha… And yeah, Ruby is perfect. To me. And that’s really all that counts or I wouldn’t have made the change.

  • lenoya

    Honestly, I think the new female vocalist is a step in the wrong direction imo. Pretty much every verse she sings has the same dynamic and “pattern” and interchangeable to every song, no uniqueness, no musicality. She sings with too much vibrato all the time (with flat attacks until she finds the note center) and thus lacks expressiveness. Her best vocals were the background ambient ones. Overall, I can’t really listen to this record despite it being really well produced because her vocals grate on my nerves to no end. Jo was the far better fit and made TPH more unique, more varied, sincere, expressive and just darker because of it. The new vocalist pushes TPH over to a more “theatrical” direction, definitely more 80’s metal. The music itself is great except….maybe lose the piano for a change. Pretty much every TPH song ever written has the same piano breakdown usually followed by a techno interlude. And the songs are often too long and meander too much; sometimes you can be predictable when trying too hard to be unpredictable and complex. My 2 cents.

  • K

    Your 2 cents don’t make it to the bank by a long stretch.

  • dheim

    this album is a masterpiece – like every TPH effort… i totally love it! BUT (even if i can’t say i completely dislike Ruby’s voice) i preferred Jo a billion times, every day of the year… just my opinion.

  • dheim

    i think AMG said it for me… “While she is a little too stylistically R&B for my tastes at times, she offers up a seriously powerful performance that cannot be ignored and denied” – she’s of course a hell of a vocalist, but her style seems almost always a bit out of place, and though it could be a wanted effect it just doesn’t strike the same chords Jo’s vocals did, at least for me.

  • The new female vocals are perfect. When will people catch on to the fact that TPH is not going for what will please the most people? I don’t even really know what Lord K’s goal or purpose for TPH is, but it is clear in every second of his music that he’s getting closer and closer to that goal. The new vocalist takes some time to get used to, and maybe she has flaws that would subtract from any other music, but she fits TPH so perfectly it’s scary.